Why the world’s largest museum is embracing NFT technology

Eventually, all museums will build their digital copy in the metaverse, according to Dmitry Ozerkov, the head of the Contemporary Art Department at The State Hermitage Museum. 

Ozerkov is currently developing the “Celestial Hermitage”, a digital version of the iconic Russian museum, which will be exhibiting NFT art. 

“We are all moving into the digital era and our digital twin will be following us everywhere”, Ozerkov told Cointelegraph in an exclusive interview. 

The State Hermitage in Saint Peterburg, Russia, is the largest museum in the world by gallery space with around 3 million works of art.

In September 2021, the museum took its first steps in the NFT world by selling 5 digital reproductions of its most famous masterpieces in the form of NFTs raising almost $450,000.

In November the Hermitage launched its first entirely digital exhibition, titled ‘The Ethereal Aether”, where 38 NFTs are showcased within a digital reconstruction of the museum.

Unlike the physical Hermitage, where visitors can only watch the works o display, the virtual exhibition allows visitors to interact with the NFTs on display. 

“You can pass through these doors without touching anything, while in the virtual world, you can do anything: you can play with artworks, you can make them interactive, you can add data to it”, explained Ozerkov. 

The exhibition can be visited online for free until December 10th.

As pointed out by Ozerkov, the interest of the Hermitage in NFTs transcend market dynamics and seeks to investigate the artistic value that NFT can bring into the contemporary art world.

“My idea was to take a selection of existing works out of the market and to put them into the museum and to have a look: what remains in them as art? Is there any art there or we like, what we value in them is only money?”.

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Spanish banks required to report 3-year digital currency plans

Digital currency plans by Spanish banks must now be reported according to sources at the Banco de España, who claimed that the central bank wants to examine the effect that digitalization is having on financial services.

The Bank of Spain has been quiet for years on the subject of digital currencies. However, this year, it’s stepping up and asserting itself. After establishing a digital currency service providers’ registry, it’s moving on to the banks.

According to a report from Spain’s El País, the Banco de España is now on the lookout for additional information from financial organizations dealing with digital money.

The purpose of the research is to examine the effect that digitalization is having on financial services, not to prohibit or advocate digital currencies. The central bank is calling on commercial banks to disclose their ties with digital asset service providers, stakes in them, and any other exposure they may have to cryptocurrencies.

Banks that want to launch or offer custody for existing cryptocurrencies in the next three years must also detail such projects.

The latest development arrives as leading banks in Spain begin to embrace digital currencies. Banco Santander is the country’s largest bank, and it has stated that it is working toward a cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund. Other financial institutions are also at various stages in their digital asset initiatives, such as BBVA and Caixabank.

As reported, Banco Santander and four top Spanish banks completed a proof-of-concept for payment transfers utilizing smart contracts. Banco Santander also reportedly redeemed its blockchain-based bond in 2019.